WEST LOOP — Hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parades would be postponed because of coronavirus, a West Loop St. Pat’s festival is following suit.
Old St. Patrick’s Catholic Church announced they would postpone Shamrock’n the Block, a new event that was set to make its debut Saturday at 700 W. Adams St.
“We have made the difficult decision not to host our scheduled events this Saturday, March 14,” church officials said in a statement.
The church will honor all tickets purchased for the fest on the rescheduled date, which has not yet been decided. Those seeking a refund or who want to make their ticket purchase a tax-deductible donation to the church instead can reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Old St. Pat’s Pastor Tom Hurley was scheduled to serve as the Grand Marshal of the 65th annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade before it was postponed.
The parades were postponed because they attract “massive” crowds to Chicago, which makes it difficult for people to practice “social distancing,” Lightfoot said.
“God forbid we see a spread or spike based upon this kind of public event. None of us wanted that,” Lightfoot said.
As of Wednesday, there are 25 confirmed cases of the virus in Illinois — up six from Tuesday.
Fears over the virus have prompted city officials to take action, including canceling school-related trips to areas at risk for coronavirus.
Vaughn Occupational High School in Portage Park remains closed after an employee there was confirmed to have coronavirus on Friday and students were encouraged to self-isolate.
Multiple large conventions and events have also been canceled in Chicago due to the virus. So far, Chicago’s major St. Patrick’s Day festivities will still go on.
Google has recommended all of the company’s North American employees work from home. In their Fulton Market office, the company has more than 1,200 workers.
Earlier this year, Old St. Pat’s announced the new Shamrock’n the Block event would replace their two-day summer block party.
“Like all of you, we are sorry that the world community is in this unique situation and we hope it will be resolved soon,” church officials said.
Coronavirus can be deadly, but the vast majority of cases have been mild. Those most at risk from the virus are people who are elderly or who have underlying health conditions.
Symptoms of coronavirus can appear two to 14 days after a person has been exposed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The virus spreads between people through coughing and sneezing, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Shortness of breath
How To Protect Yourself
First, reject the hype: You don’t need a facemask if you’re well. The CDC only recommends those are already sick wear facemasks because they help you avoid spreading the virus.
Here’s what you can actually do to prevent getting ill:
- The CDC and other officials have said people should wash their hands often, including before, during and after eating; after using the bathroom; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
The CDC has a guide here for how to properly wash your hands. Remember: Wash with soap and water, scrubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- If you can’t wash your hands with soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
- Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth, with unwashed hands.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces you touch frequently, like cellphones and light switches. Here are tips from the CDC.
- Stay home when you’re sick and avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you have to sneeze with a tissue, throw it out immediately after using it, according to the CDC.
What To Do If You Think You’re Sick
Even if you’re not showing symptoms, the Chicago Department of Public Health recommends people coming from high-risk countries (here’s a CDC list) self-quarantine for 14 days after returning home.
If you do have symptoms of coronavirus, contact your primary doctor or a health care facility before going in. Explain your symptoms and tell them if you’ve come into close contact with anyone with coronavirus or traveled to an area where corona is widespread (here’s a CDC list) within the last 14 days, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
From there, the experts will work with your local health department to determine what to do and if you need to be tested for coronavirus, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
And, of course, if you think you’re sick with coronavirus, don’t risk exposing other people to the virus.
Those with questions and concerns about coronavirus can call the Illinois Department of Public Health at 800-889-3931.
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